Yowamushi Pedal: Episode 15 – “Strategy”

Yowamushi Pedal is an anime about a first-year high school student named Sakamichi Onoda who is an otaku that wants to join his high school’s anime club, but it has shut down due to lack of members. Sakamichi’s goal is to try to revive the anime club. He also rides a “mommy” bike, and is able to ride it very well. After losing in a bicycle race to Shunsuke, Shunsuke tells him to think about joining the bicycle racing club, because he sees that Sakamichi has potential. In episode four, Sakamichi became friends with a boy named Naruko that he met while he was in Akihibara. After some convincing from Naruko, Sakamichi joins the bicycle racing club.

Day three of the training camp continues, and lasts for the entirety of episode 15. Early on, Shunsuke and Naruko get to where Sakamichi is on the course, and the three of them end up riding together after Sakamichi asks what he needs to do in order to participate in the Inter-High. Naruko is taken aback and admits he doesn’t know. However, Naruko understands that the captain’s thinking that if you can’t complete 1,000 kilometers, you don’t have what it takes to compete in the Inter-High.

The team captain makes the decision to change how the participants are listed on the board showing the laps. Instead of being ordered by class, they are now ordered by how many laps they’ve completed. After this happens, Sakamichi, Naruko, and Shunsuke picks up their pace. As the day progresses, they start catching up to the second-years. When they’re only one lap behind, it becomes a race between Shunsuke and Naruko and the two second-years, Teshima and Aoyagi.

Probably one of the most important things to come out of this episode is the fact that the second-years are not only finally introduced by name, but they become an important part of the story. Prior to this episode, the second-years in the club were in the background and had little to no importance to the storyline.

We also get some backstory for Teshima near the end of the episode. He had competed in races against Shunsuke back in middle school, since there’s only one year between them. However, Shunsuke always stood on the winners’ podium while Teshima could never make it into the top 30. After losing in those races so much, he used his ingenuity and strategy to try to make himself a better rider. Because of this, there’s no way either him or Aoyagi will let the first-years pass them. This will obviously continue into the next episode, so I’m curious to see if Shunsuke and Naruko can surpass the second-years or not.

And I guess I ended up being wrong about day four  starting in this episode, since not only did it start in day three, it also ended in day three. At this point, I predict episode 16 will still be taking place in day three of the camp, with a very heavy emphasis on Shunsuke and Naruko versus Teshima and Aoyagi.

This episode of Yowamushi Pedal had a strong emphasis on the action of the bicycle riding. While there was some exposition included, there was a lot of action taking place to help keep the viewer interested in what’s going on throughout the episode.

Yowamushi Pedal is a series I still continue to look forward to watching every week. It’s had the right mix of action, character development, and character interactions to keep the viewer wanting to come back.

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